Murphy signs executive order allowing youth volunteers to help Sandy recovery efforts

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy Thursday reinstated an executive order that allows youth volunteers to help rebuild homes damaged by Hurricane Sandy.

“In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, New Jersey came together as one to restore this great state,” Murphy said. “We have provided assistance to thousands of New Jerseyans and we must continue to work together to build New Jersey to be stronger and more resilient for upcoming generations.”

The executive order lifts the restrictions preventing teens ages 14 to 17 from volunteering for nonprofit organizations engaged in housing construction.

The full text of Executive Order 19:

WHEREAS, Superstorm Sandy (“Sandy”) devastated the State of New Jersey beginning on October 28, 2012 and continuing through October 30, 2012, destroying entire communities and causing significant damage throughout the State; and

WHEREAS, while substantial progress has been made due to the efforts of first responders, state and local governmental leaders, private businesses, non-profit organizations, and dedicated volunteers, recovery efforts remain underway and many residents are still in need of assistance; and

WHEREAS, many of the non-profit organizations assisting with ongoing recovery rely on volunteers, including high school students between the ages of fourteen and seventeen, to repair, rebuild, and reconstruct homes destroyed by Sandy under the direct supervision of qualified adults; and

WHEREAS, in an effort to enable these youth volunteers to legally assist with Sandy recovery, Governor Christie signed Executive Order No. 137 (2013); and

WHEREAS, that Order, signed in furtherance of the continuing State of Emergency initially declared on October 27, 2012, suspended the enforcement of N.J.S.A. 34:2-21.17d, which restricts the nature and manner of volunteer construction work that minors between the ages of fourteen and seventeen may perform as volunteers for non-profit housing organizations; and

WHEREAS, Executive Order No. 137 (2013) assured that minors between fourteen and seventeen years of age would be permitted, in appropriate circumstances, to work as volunteers for non-profit organizations engaged in housing construction; and

WHEREAS, Governor Christie periodically extended Executive Order No. 137 (2013), with the most recent Order, Executive Order No. 220 (2017), being executed on March 2, 2017; and

WHEREAS, Executive Order No. 220 (2017), by its terms, expired on January 16, 2018; and

WHEREAS, since 2013, more than 4,000 youth volunteers have performed repair and construction work on Sandy-damaged homes in coordination with various non-profit organizations; and

WHEREAS, continuing to afford available youth volunteers with opportunities to engage in such repair and construction work, while maintaining all other safeguards that protect minors engaged in construction, will continue to help New Jerseyans return to their homes; and

WHEREAS, with the spring construction season about to commence, it is in the best interest of the State and all those impacted by Sandy to allow and encourage the continued efforts of youth volunteers;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, PHILIP D. MURPHY, Governor of the State of New Jersey, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and by the Statutes of this State, do hereby ORDER and DIRECT:

Executive Order No. 220 (2017) is hereby continued and minors between fourteen and seventeen years of age shall be permitted to work as volunteers for non-profit organizations engaged in housing repair and construction, provided that all other provisions of N.J.S.A. 34:2-21.17d, and any other applicable law, rule, or regulation concerning the employment and protection of minors, shall remain in full force and effect.

The Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development shall take all appropriate steps to effectuate this Order.

No municipality, county, or any other agency or political subdivision of this State shall enact or enforce any order, rule, regulation, ordinance, or resolution that will or might in any way conflict with the provisions of this Order, or that will or might in any way interfere with or impede the achievement of its goals as herein above described.

This Order shall take effect immediately.